Following Pauline Hanson’s Notice of Motion in June for a plebiscite at the next general election on Australia’s immigration levels:
Ms Hanson has penned an article in The Australian today demanding a vote on Australia’s immigration levels to be held at the same time as the next federal election, and plans to introduce legislation to hold a plebiscite on the issue:
Australia’s population increased by 3.5 million people in the decade to 2016. About 60 per cent of that increase came from immigration.
There is no doubt legal immigration is the cause of Australia’s exceptional population growth…
Our immigration policy is like a riderless horse. It is dangerous. What we need is a rider, a population policy to safely guide the immigration horse.
Each year, the government of the day sets an immigration target but there is no plan to take into account the cumulative long-term consequences of those year-on-year decisions…
It is time to put the interests of citizens first and to stop pandering to special interest groups, including business, higher education and property developers, who benefit from excessive immigration…
Perhaps the major parties will be persuaded of the electorate’s view if a referendum on immigration is held at the next general election, because that is what is proposed in the Plebiscite (Migration Level) 2018 bill.
My bill proposes to ask voters: “Do you think the immigration rate is too high?”
My view is that an overwhelming majority of Australians will say that the immigration rate is too high when they are told 62 per cent of the population increase in the decade to 2016 was the result of immigration…
At no time have Australian’s views been sought over how big they want Australia to become, despite the five most recent opinion polls showing majority support for lower immigration:
- Australian Population Research Institute: 54% want lower immigration;
- Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
- Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
- Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high; and
- Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year.
For this reason, Australians deserve to have a plebiscite seeking their views about the nation’s future population size, the answers of which would then be used to formulate Australia’s immigration intake to meet the said target.
Here is an example of the type of question that could be taken to the Australian people:
Australia’s population is currently 25 million. Under zero net overseas migration (NOM), it is projected to reach 27 million by 2060.
By 2060, do you believe Australia’s population should be:
- 27 million;
- 30 million;
- 35 million;
- 40 million;
- 45 million?
Obviously, there is room to move on the language and the chart should be updated to show the level of NOM corresponding to the choices, but you get the idea. The important thing is that Australian’s views are sought and this consensus is then used to formulate a national population policy.
In it’s recent Migrant Intake Australia report, the Productivity Commission also explicitly called for a national population strategy, rather than flying blindly. It’s also the democratic thing to do.
The alternative is to ignore the will of the masses and allow the rise of extreme political groups that normally sensible people will turn to because they express their anger, as witnessed across Europe.